Saint Louis University

Author: Rachel Friedman
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2011

This past weekend, a handful of dietetic interns volunteered at the fall Give Kids a Smile event at the SLU Center for Advanced Dental Education and School of Allied Health. Underserved children were invited to come receive free dental care including x-rays, cleanings, and even oral surgeries.

Give Kids a Smile 2011
Give Kids a Smile 2011

As interns, we did nutrition assessments on the children who came though by plotting their height and weight on growth charts. We gave the charts to the families so they could keep track of their children’s growth at home. It was great to see the kids get on the scale and stand up straight to show us how tall they were!

We also talked with parents about the importance of calcium in keeping their children’s teeth healthy and strong. Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for developing healthy teeth. Kids can keep their teeth strong by eating calcium containing foods every day. Some foods that are high in calcium and healthy for teeth include milk, yogurt and cheese.

Once the children finished with their assessments and cleanings, they came over to Fresh Gatherings in the School of Allied Health. A magician quizzed them on their teeth knowledge and we played nutrition games like Exercise Dice. The children took turns rolling a large dice to see what exercise to complete. They could roll everything from toe touches and sit ups to jumping jacks to push ups. We did the exercises with them and, boy, did they give us a workout – I’m actually a little sore the next day!

Give Kids a Smile 2011
Give Kids a Smile 2011

Give Kids a Smile was a great way to give back to the underserved children of St Louis. They received quality dental care and important nutrition information for keeping their teeth strong and cavity-free. Now armed with clean teeth these kids are ready to conquer the world by showing off their pearly whites with the classic (calcium rich) phrase, “Say Cheese!”